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The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship (福岡国際マラソン, Fukuoka Kokusai Marason) is an IAAF Gold Label international men's marathon race held in Fukuoka, Japan since 1947. It is usually held on the first Sunday in December.

Fukuoka Marathon
Fukuoka Marathon Monument.jpg
The Fukuoka Marathon monument at Hakata Station with footprints of past winners
DateEarly December
LocationFukuoka, Japan Japan
Event typeRoad
Course records2:05:18 (2009)
Ethiopia Tsegaye Kebede
Official siteFukuoka Marathon
Participants291 (2018)

The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009 to best his own record from the previous year.[1]



In its early years, the race had a rotating venue format, but these races are contained within the Fukuoka history as they all shared a common organiser and sponsor (the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese national newspaper). The inaugural edition was launched in 1947 as the "Kanaguri Prize Asahi Marathon" (金栗賞朝日マラソン, Kanaguri-Shō Asahi Marason) and was held in Kumamoto. The 1951 was the first of the race series to be held in Fukuoka. Foreign runners were invited for the first time in 1954 and Reinaldo Gorno of Argentina subsequently became the first non-Japanese winner. The competition was renamed as the "Asahi International Marathon" (朝日国際マラソン, Asahi Kokusai Marason) the following year and Finland's Veikko Karvonen became the first European victor. In 1956 the race reverted to a national race between Japanese men, but foreign runners were reintroduced for later editions.[2]

The 1959 edition saw Fukuoka instated was the permanent host city for the marathon race and Japanese runner Kurao Hiroshima became the first two-time winner that year. Water stations for runners were introduced along the course for the first time in 1961. The last race to be held outside of Fukuoka came in 1963, when a special pre-Olympic edition was held in Tokyo as a way of testing the marathon course for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Recognising the Fukuoka Marathon's increasingly international nature, the event was renamed in 1966 to the "International Marathon Championship" (国際マラソン選手権, Kokusai Marason Senshuken).[2] A year later, the course saw its first world record performance as Australian Derek Clayton knocked over two minutes off the previous record to win the race in 2:09:36.4 hours.[3] Frank Shorter had three straight wins in 1971 to 1973 and a fourth win came in 1974, the same year that the race took on its current title of the "Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship" (福岡国際マラソン選手権, Fukuoka Kokusai Marason Senshuken).[4]

In 1980, Toshihiko Seko won in a time of 2:09:45 hours, just four seconds ahead of Takeshi So. This represented the first time that two men had completed the marathon distance under two hours and ten minutes at the same competition.[5] The second world record of the competition's history came in 1981 and it was again an Australian runner, this time Robert de Castella, whose time of 2:08:18 hours became the new world standard.[3]

The Fukuoka Marathon is the third-longest running competition of its type in Japan, being established two years after the Lake Biwa Marathon and one year after the Kochi Marathon. This makes it the tenth longest running annual marathon race in recorded history.[6] The competition has hosted the men's marathon championship race numerous times: it first held the event in 1955 and then hosted the race on a biennial basis from 1963 to 1997. It now hosts the national championship race once every three years, on a rotational basis alongside the Lake Biwa and Tokyo Marathons.[7]


Male runners who have achieved the following times in an official event of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) or a race for members of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) in a certain period, and who are aged 19 years or older on the day of the race can apply for the race.[8]

Group A
  1. Marathon: under 2 hours 27 minutes
  2. 30 km road race: under 1 hour 35 minutes
  3. Half-marathon: under 1 hour 05 minutes
Group B
  1. Marathon: under 2 hours 35 minutes
  2. 30 km road race: under 1 hour 45 minutes
  3. Half-marathon: under 1 hour 10 minutes

Past winnersEdit

Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede is the current course record holder.
Samuel Wanjiru won in 2007 and went on to take the 2008 Olympic marathon title.
Gezahegne Abera is a three-time race winner
Robert de Castella (right) of Australia set a world record at the 1981 edition.
Frank Shorter had a record four straight wins in Fukuoka from 1971 to 1974.

Key:   Course record   Japanese championship race

Edition Date Winner Country Time (h:m:s) Notes
72nd December 2, 2018 Yuma Hattori   Japan 2:07:27
71st December 3, 2017 Sondre Nordstad Moen   Norway 2:05:48
70th December 4, 2016 Yemane Tsegay   Ethiopia 2:08:48
69th December 6, 2015 Patrick Makau   Kenya 2:08:18
68th December 7, 2014 Patrick Makau   Kenya 2:08:22
67th December 1, 2013 Martin Mathathi   Kenya 2:07:16
66th December 2, 2012 Joseph Gitau   Kenya 2:06:58
65th December 4, 2011[9] Josephat Ndambiri   Kenya 2:07:36
64th December 5, 2010 Jaouad Gharib   Morocco 2:08:24
63rd December 6, 2009 Tsegaye Kebede   Ethiopia 2:05:18
62nd December 7, 2008 Tsegaye Kebede   Ethiopia 2:06:10
61st December 2, 2007 Samuel Wanjiru   Kenya 2:06:39
60th December 3, 2006 Haile Gebrselassie   Ethiopia 2:06:52
59th December 4, 2005 Dmytro Baranovskyy   Ukraine 2:08:29
58th December 5, 2004 Tsuyoshi Ogata   Japan 2:09:10
57th December 7, 2003 Tomoaki Kunichika   Japan 2:07:52
56th December 1, 2002 Gezahegne Abera   Ethiopia 2:09:13
55th December 2, 2001 Gezahegne Abera   Ethiopia 2:09:25
54th December 3, 2000 Atsushi Fujita   Japan 2:06:51 NR
53rd December 5, 1999 Gezahegne Abera   Ethiopia 2:07:54
52nd December 6, 1998 Jackson Kabiga   Kenya 2:08:42
51st December 7, 1997 Josia Thugwane   South Africa 2:07:28
50th December 1, 1996 Lee Bong-ju   South Korea 2:10:48
49th December 3, 1995 Luíz Antônio   Brazil 2:09:30
48th December 4, 1994 Boay Akonay   Tanzania 2:09:45
47th December 5, 1993 Dionicio Cerón   Mexico 2:08:51
46th December 6, 1992 Tena Negere   Ethiopia 2:09:04
45th December 1, 1991 Shuichi Morita   Japan 2:10:58 Current course layout introduced
44th December 2, 1990 Belayneh Dinsamo   Ethiopia 2:11:35
43rd December 3, 1989 Manuel Matias   Portugal 2:12:54
42nd December 4, 1988 Toshihiro Shibutani   Japan 2:11:04
41st December 6, 1987 Takeyuki Nakayama   Japan 2:08:18
40th December 7, 1986 Juma Ikangaa   Tanzania 2:10:06
39th December 1, 1985 Hisatoshi Shintaku   Japan 2:09:51 Course layout changed
38th December 2, 1984 Takeyuki Nakayama   Japan 2:10:00
37th December 4, 1983 Toshihiko Seko   Japan 2:08:52
36th December 5, 1982 Paul Ballinger   New Zealand 2:10:15
35th December 6, 1981 Robert de Castella   Australia 2:08:18 WR
34th December 7, 1980 Toshihiko Seko   Japan 2:09:45
33rd December 2, 1979 Toshihiko Seko   Japan 2:10:35
32nd December 3, 1978 Toshihiko Seko   Japan 2:10:21
31st December 4, 1977 Bill Rodgers   United States 2:10:56
30th December 5, 1976 Jerome Drayton   Canada 2:12:35
29th December 7, 1975 Jerome Drayton   Canada 2:10:09
28th December 8, 1974 Frank Shorter   United States 2:11:32
27th December 2, 1973 Frank Shorter   United States 2:11:45
26th December 3, 1972 Frank Shorter   United States 2:10:30
25th December 5, 1971 Frank Shorter   United States 2:12:51
24th December 6, 1970 Akio Usami   Japan 2:10:38
23rd December 7, 1969 Jerome Drayton   Canada 2:11:13
22nd December 8, 1968 Bill Adcocks   England 2:10:48
21st December 3, 1967 Derek Clayton   Australia 2:09:37 WR
20th November 27, 1966 Mike Ryan   New Zealand 2:14:05
19th October 10, 1965 Hidekuni Hiroshima   Japan 2:18:36
18th December 6, 1964 Toru Terasawa   Japan 2:14:49
17th October 15, 1963 Jeff Julian   New Zealand 2:18:01 Held in Tokyo
16th December 2, 1962 Toru Terasawa   Japan 2:16:19
15th December 3, 1961 Pavel Kantorek   Czech Republic 2:22:05
14th December 4, 1960 Barry Magee   New Zealand 2:19:04
13th November 8, 1959 Kurao Hiroshima   Japan 2:29:34 Fukuoka becomes permanent host
12th December 7, 1958 Nobuyoshi Sadanaga   Japan 2:24:01 Held in Utsunomiya
11th December 1, 1957 Kurao Hiroshima   Japan 2:21:40 Held in Fukuoka City
10th December 9, 1956 Keizo Yamada   Japan 2:25:15 Held in Nagoya
9th December 11, 1955 Veikko Karvonen   Finland 2:23:16 Held in Fukuoka/Koga
8th December 5, 1954 Reinaldo Gorno   Argentina 2:24:55 Held in Kamakura/Yokohama
7th December 6, 1953 Hideo Hamamura   Japan 2:27:26 Held in Nagoya
6th December 7, 1952 Katsuo Nishida   Japan 2:27:59 Held in Ube
5th December 9, 1951 Hiromi Haigo   Japan 2:30:13 Held in Fukuoka/Maebaru
4th December 10, 1950 Shunji Koyanagi   Japan 2:30:47 Held in Hiroshima
3rd December 4, 1949 Shinzo Koga   Japan 2:40:26 Held in Shizuoka
2nd December 5, 1948 Saburo Yamada   Japan 2:37:25 Held in Takamatsu
1st December 7, 1947 Toshikazu Wada   Japan 2:45:45 Held in Kumamoto


  1. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2009-12-06). 2:05:18 course record and personal best for Kebede in Fukuoka. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-12-06.
  2. ^ a b Nakamura, Ken (2010). Marathon - A history of the Fukuoka International Marathon Championships by K. Ken Nakamura - Part 1 1947-1966. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  3. ^ a b Butler, Mark (2011). 13th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook Archived 2012-10-01 at WebCite (pgs. 595, 612, 614–615, 705, 707). Daegu 2011. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  4. ^ Heyworth, Malcolm et al (2010-12-05). Fukuoka Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  5. ^ World Marathon Rankings for 1980. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  6. ^ Longest Running Marathons. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  7. ^ Ota, Shigenobu et al (2010-03-27). National Marathon Champions for Japan. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Nakamura, Ken (2011-11-04). Running in his debut, Ndambiri triumphs in Fukuoka. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
List of winners

External linksEdit